What Is WordPress?
What Is WordPress and How Does it Work?
Let’s go over What is WordPress with a few points and a simple illustration. Ready? Be sure to share this post with others who might have the same question.
- WordPress is a free and open-source content management system
- WordPress uses PHP and MySQL database to create the content
- WordPress comes in two flavors: Paid and Free
- WordPress.com is the paid version
- WordPress.org allows you to download the free version
Imagine for a minute that you’re not a coder, not a developer, and someone asked you what WordPress really is. How would you answer them?
For the next few minutes, I want you to think of an illustration or example that might help you share with others what WordPress is and how it works.
Imagine for a minute or two, if you will, a liquid – like a body of water.
WordPress Theme Files are written in PHP
PHP is the language that WordPress files are written with and it’s what controls the liquid.
These are your WordPress Theme files, WordPress Plugin files, and the default WordPress core files that make up your WordPress site.
So, what is WordPress and how is it so flexible and diverse? Remember that body of water?
I want you to imagine that a database is simply one big body of water.
Within that database is simply information.
It’s the information that makes up your unique WordPress website.
The WordPress Database is the MySQL
Your database can contain things like the heading of a blog post, what color is chosen for the menu, which URL your using for your site, which post type you’re writing in, and an endless number of infinite options.
So, how does WordPress tell all that information (water) where to go and what to do?
That’s where those files come into the illustration!
Water (or any liquid) can take all sorts of different forms, shapes, and can be delivered & presented in all types of ways, right? There are rivers, lakes, flood plains, streams, distilled water, mineral water, spring water, sparkling water, oceans, salt water, and of course frozen water!
The files in WordPress tell the water what to do and where to go.
Your site might have WordPress Theme files that tell the menu to go full width or be a fixed width.
WordPress stores your chosen options in the database, and the theme is what tells the database what to do.
Your site might have a WordPress theme that makes each post become full width or include a sidebar. Theme files also control how each image size is displayed. Perhaps your theme files dictate whether the WordPress Theme will make a featured image for each post be to the left, right, or center justified.
Those options would be controlled by the WordPress Theme files.
But, have you ever noticed how easy it is to switch out the WordPress Theme yet have all of those Featured Images still be tied to each blog post?
That’s because each blog post contains that database of information. And very similar to the fact that water can take many forms, so too can your WordPress site.
You can use a paid WordPress theme from Themeforest or a free WordPress theme from WordPress.org/themes. But if you’ll notice, each and every time you switch themes, you’ve got the same content for each post, the same featured image for the post, the same post categories, and more!
See how that illustration of ‘water’ is starting to make a bit more sense? 😉
If you’ve got WooCommerce installed, Contact Form 7, Yoast SEO, or any other plugins installed within your WordPress site, switching themes simply changes the layout, looks, and -in some cases- the options available for you to design your site.
Yet at the same time, it keeps and maintains all of your content from the last theme. In other words, the water is still there, it’s simply taken on a new form!
In WordPress.com, all this is taken care of for you, but options are somewhat limited.
In a self hosted WordPress site You Are In Control
Contrary to WordPress.com, when you buy a domain, purchase WordPress Hosting, and install WordPress, now you are in total control of how your database and your files work together.
WordPress empowers choices!
Site owners can indeed mess up their WordPress installations, and other site owners continually run their site without any problems whatsoever.
Just like with any “body of water” self-hosted WordPress sites are under the sole direction of the site owner.
Remember: WordPress empowers anyone and everyone with options!
It is the sole responsibility of the site owner to make sure that their WordPress files and database creates the site that they want!
Who uses WordPress?
Sites like Mashable, TechCrunch and The New York Times use WordPress.
WordPress is the simplest, most easiest way to create your own website.
Remember though, if you are wanting to have your own site using WordPress, and you want total control over every aspect of your own site, then you will need to learn WordPress, find the Best WordPress Hosting, and remember that you are now in total control over your site.
And you’ll know What is WordPress?
It’s all yours!
Regarding your #4 “WordPress.com is the paid version” – It’s only paid if you want extra goodies like a domain name attached to the site, use of premium themes, etc. – otherwise it is free.